Michael Noonan urges Irish SMEs to sell online

Minister for Finance says more young people are buying goods online after viewing in stores

Small and medium-sized businesses must invest in selling online if they want to survive, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said on Friday. “The digital economy isn’t really a sector of the economy any more: the whole economy is becoming digitalised. The integration of digitalisation into the whole economy is the significant movement over the last couple of years.”

Speaking in Limerick, he added: “I noticed before Christmas – as we are always watching retail figures because retail figures generate VAT and excise – that there was a big switch this year again to online sales, in the run-in to Christmas from the sales in the stores.

“And, I strongly urge small businesses to start, if they haven’t done so already, to look at the capacity for selling online because that’s where the move was and that’s where the young people are going.”

He said there were daily examples of young people going into a shop, examining a product label, taking a photograph of it and then ordering online when they go home. The Minister said it was now becoming a pattern and, when he met them, store owners had acknowledged that online competition was hitting their business.